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History Old drag strips texas, name them

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tinker51, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. vettsplit63
    Joined: Feb 8, 2011
    Posts: 19

    vettsplit63
    Member
    from Texas

    Pampa was an old WWII practice landing strip for the bombers out of the Pampa and probably Dalhart bases. Started out running to the South on the N/S side, then later switched first to running east, kinda uphill, then finally in about 63, running east to west. Some of the names I remember running there were Jackie Mize out of Lubbock, Carroll Caudle, who would drive his 55 4 door chevy down from Texoma, change the rear end at Jack Nichols Enco station, then go out and race, change the rear end back out, and drive home. Some other names were Bob Birdsong-62 409 chev, Jimmy Rich-60 chev 348(?), coulda been a 409 the way it ran, Billy Puckett-58 Chev 348 tri power, David Potter-62 white 409, Fred Hughes 60 Corvette, Billy Parker- 64 Thunderbolt, RD Thomas- small block Anglia, Coke Royal- 62 409, Jackie Mize- 62 Corvette, Gene Goss- 55 Chevy F/G. We rented a set of lights from somebody, and had guys at the finish line with stop watches and two ways calling back times. There was a factory lightweight 63 1/2 Ford 427 SS/S from Woodward, OK sponsored by Furgason Ford that was there some also.
     
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  2. Beavertail
    Joined: Jun 27, 2010
    Posts: 20

    Beavertail
    Member

    Yes, there was a dirt drag strip built by the Slow Pokes car club on Lake Murray State Park land located just east of the airstrip on the southeastern outskirts of Ardmore. It only ran for a few years in the mid-1950s. The Ardmore Dragway, located in Springer, nine miles north of Ardmore, didn't open for racing until about 1962. I am compiling an online encyclopedia of U.S. drag strips. This Jalopy Journal thread on Texas drag strips has been very helpful in my project. It is still a work-in-progress, but I have thus far entered most of the drag strips that opened at least fifty years ago. It is organized by state, with chronological listings and alphabetical entries. Each entry gives a capsule history, years of operation, links to old YouTube videos or radio ads, a link to submit your memories of drag strips, old newspaper ads, etc. My goal is to include all drag strips that opened before 1977, that is, strips that opened 40 years ago. If I'm missing some tracks, I'd like to know about them. Also please consider adding your memories of drag strips where you either raced or attended. It is located at: http://dragstriplist.com
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
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  3. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,675

    Larry T
    Member

    I might have missed it, but the dragstrip at Wichita Falls was called Pleasant Valley at one time. And Vernon had Victory Field.
     
  4. grouchyroan
    Joined: Jul 23, 2011
    Posts: 5

    grouchyroan
    Member

    oh no, this makes me feel very old, i raced at double eagle dragstrip in san antonio in 1959, later became san antonio drag raceway
     
  5. grouchyroan
    Joined: Jul 23, 2011
    Posts: 5

    grouchyroan
    Member

    yeah, it was double eagle, changed around early 60s to san antonio drag raceway, developed now. raced there first time in 1959
     
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  6. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    I have attached an aerial view of the still existing remains of the old I-20 Dragway outside Tyler Texas. I live near here and have checked out this old strip many times. My dad used to be a frequent follower of this track back in the day. It is cool to hear him recall watching the floppers run there. It is now owned or leased by an oil field company.
    Coordinates are as follows:
    32°26'28.7"N 95°12'18.1"W

    I-20 Dragway Owentown, Tx (WITH ARROWS).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
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  7. Zach,When it was in operation,A family named Wilder ran it...Cornell and Harold..also had a muffler business in Tyler.
    got any flatheads left?
    Bobby
     
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  8. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    Hey Bob. How are you friend? I hope all is well in Jefferson these days. No sir, I sold off all my old flatheads a long time back. Moving around, divorce, unemployment usually has a pretty harsh affect on hot rods and such, LOL.

    Here is what I have on the old Tyler Drag strip. This strip was built almost right in the middle of the old Camp Fannin WWII training base that operated from 1943-1946:

    When this strip first opened in September 1961, it was called Interstate 20 Raceway, but within months it had been renamed Tyler Dragways (although people still called it I-20 Dragway). The strip was located eight miles northeast of Tyler on State Highway 155 in Owentown, near Interstate 20 (thus the name). It was scheduled to open in September 1961 with featured racers including Vance Hunt, Bobby Langley, and the Mayhew Dyer Special A/FD. Vance Hunt set the track record with a run of 187 MPH at 8.31 seconds. On January 14, 1962, Vance Hunt faced Don Garlits for a race to determine the number one national ranking in top fuel. On March 18, 1962, E. J. "Parachute" Potter was featured. This has got to be the most name-changing-est track as it changed its name to Tyler Speedways in April 1962. They held races on the second and fourth Sundays and was sanctioned by NHRA. A newspaper ad for the race on Sunday, April 29, 1962, declared "Go to church first!" In the April 1969 issue of Hot Rod, it was listed as a sanctioned NHRA track. Harold Wilder managed the track then. The track had one fatality: L. W. "Dubby" Erwin in 1965. Ken Hall ran the strip during the period from 1982-84, but research was unable to find when the strip closed.
     
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  9. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    Here is one I would like to know more about since I live only about 2 miles from the site and apparently cross where the old Strip was on Hebron Road all the time..

    This multi-million-dollar Dallas International Motor Speedway racing plant was built on a 380-acre site south of Lewisville. It was scheduled to have its drag strip completed in mid-May 1969, in time to host the NHRA Springnationals on June 13-15. One of its unique features was a $50,000 four-level glass-paneled timing tower. It had grandstand seating for 12,000 and lighting for Saturday night drag racing. Later, a 2.5-mile road course was added, followed by a quarter-mile dirt course for motorcycle racing.The final day of racing at the '69 Springnationals was marred when funny car driver Gerry Schwartz was killed during a mid-track collision with Pat Foster who was driving Mickey Thompson's Mach I Mustang. The accident was witnessed by an estimated 25,000 spectators. Hank Westmoreland won top fuel in his "Beachcomber" dragster and Danny Ongais, Foster's teammate, won funny car. On October 25-26, 1969, the speedway hosted the NHRA World Finals. It repeated as host for the World Finals in 1970. The NHRA staged its Springnationals there on June 11-13, 1971. The top eliminators in the pro categories were Don Garlits, Don Schumacher, and Ronnie Sox. After that event, track management offered the financially-troubled strip to NHRA to purchase. They declined and the owners leased the track to IHRA. That forced NHRA to relocate the World Finals to Amarillo on short notice, IHRA held races at DIMS from September 1971 until it closed in 1973. One other horrific fatal accident occurred on October 16, 1971 when Art Arfons's "Super Cyclops" jet dragster killed Gene Thomas, a Dallas TV news host, and two IHRA emergency crewmen. Arfons had built a second seat on his dragster to have passengers ride along with him. Thomas was riding with Arfons when a rear tire blew, causing the dragster to crash through a guardrail and strike the emergency crewmnen. That was the last time Arfons drove a jet dragster. The last big race before the track closed was the IHRA Longhorn National Championships on April 27-29, 1973. A series of event rainouts, debt issues, and track maintenance costs combined to force the track into bankruptcy. The property was purchased for commercial development and the facilities were demolished. No trace of the racing complex remains at the site today.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
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  10. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    Thanks Chainsaw, yes I have this copy. Just looking for more pics of the track and layout from back in the day. Thanks for sharing though.;)

    Whereabouts are you in Carrollton? I live off 121 and Carrollton Pkwy.
     
  11. Hebron & josey area
     
  12. Zach,I was a witness to those two fatal accidents at Dallas Int'l...sad days indeed....
     
  13. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    Wow Bob, I didn't know that. You must have witnessed the Gary Schwartz and the Arfons crashes???
     
  14. So is it Hebron parkway that runs thru the middle of the old DIMS ? We saw the glass tower for years after it closed on our trips up North.
     
  15. Yes Zach, Gary driving the Ratty Cat was right in front of me,,,Arfons was at a distance..
     
  16. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 250

    Zack Methvin
    Member

    As I understand it, yes. I believe the Target store is somewhere about there the strip actually was and the starting line was somewhere about where Honda dealership is now.
     
  17. Jim Barnhart
    Joined: Jul 16, 2017
    Posts: 2

    Jim Barnhart

    I'm new to this group but here is a section of a 1959 Dallas map showing Circle Drag Strip.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Jim Barnhart
    Joined: Jul 16, 2017
    Posts: 2

    Jim Barnhart

    Let me try again.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. welcome Jim.....and thanks for bring this back up.....need to go to Tinkers next week........
     
  20. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,675

    Larry T
    Member

    Found these last week, they've been missing (along with a bunch more) for at least 10 years.

    timeslips.jpg
     
  21. wow....pretty cool there Larry....great they were found !
     
  22. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,241

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One end is right in front of Gas Monkey Garage. huh. yeah. great. I highly doubt they know.
     

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